The NFL has historically served as home to some of the fastest athletes of all time.
Active players like Jonathan Taylor, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Patrick Surtain have clocked times that could hold up as some of the fastest in league history.
That poses the question: Who is the fastest player in the NFL right now?
For the sake of this analysis, we will use official 40-yard times and NFL Next Gen Stats of ball carrier runs for the 2021 season. This gives us a good idea given two completely different scenarios since the 40-yard time is vastly different than the in-game competition with your football betting on the line.
The NFL began clocking times electronically in 1999. Before that, the NFL used manual timing for all Combine records, and the argument for the fastest player leaves room for plenty of human error. It is reported that Bo Jackson ran his 40-yard dash in a blazing 4.13 seconds in 1986, making him the fastest of all time. The question of the validity of that number is up for debate.
The NFL now provides specific speeds on different in-game play types with their Next Gen Stats. This information can help us understand the players who have clocked in at top speeds during games, but players who haven’t gotten a lot of tick. That’s when we turn to NFL Combine and Pro Day 40-yard dash numbers.
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Raheem Mostert is the fastest player (with the ball in his hands) of the 2021 season with an 80- and a 76-yard touchdown, clocking in at a top speed of 23.09 and 22.73 mph respectively in Weeks 1 and 2.
Fastest 40-Yard Times at NFL Combine
Five years after running a 4.22 40-yard dash in Indianapolis, John Ross still holds the top spot for all-time and active players.
Here’s a look at the 10 fastest 40-yard dash times for active NFL players (including 2022 rookies):
|9||Will Fuller V||2018||4.32|
Fastest Players & Plays of 2021
All times are based on ball carriers and clocked on NFL Next Gen Stats for the 2021 season:
|1||Jonathan Taylor||67-yard rush TD||22.13|
|2||M. Valdes-Scantling||75-yard receiving TD||22.09|
|3||Patrick Surtain||70-yard INT TD||22.07|
|4||Jonathan Taylor||78-yard rush TD||22.05|
|5||Jonathan Taylor||1-yard rush TD||21.83|
|6||Derrick Henry||76-yard rush TD||21.8|
|7||Jaylen Waddle||57-yard reception||21.8|
|8||Henry Ruggs III||51-yard reception||21.78|
|9||Devin Duvernay||42-yard punt return||21.76|
|10||Ja'Marr Chase||72-yard receiving TD||21.74|